Trout group gathers to learn, and fish just a bitOn the evening of Sept. 10 I attended the 2010 Wisconsin Conservation Congress Trout Committee Meeting held in Merrill.
On the evening of Sept. 10 I attended the 2010 Wisconsin Conservation Congress Trout Committee Meeting held in Merrill.
The trout committee is made up of delegates from all over the state and our goal is to review the resolutions that are received at the spring hearings which are held each April in all 72 counties.
Our main job is to formulate questions of state-wide significance from these resolutions and put them out for public review and input. If there is enough interest and positive response, these issues, through the rule-making process, can eventually become law. This is grassroots public involvement at its finest!
Our meeting that night was a long one but we got lots accomplished going over resolutions that addressed season length, bag limits and regulation category changes. Besides the resolution review, we also are brought up to speed on upcoming changes and happenings in the Department of Natural Resources fisheries arena. This information can then be brought back to our local conservation groups and the public.
Our cold water fisheries biologist liaison Larry Claggett pointed out that next year there is a planned review of the trout fishing regulations with category system fine tuning scheduled.
Public input through a series of open meetings will gather information to be reviewed by a DNR fisheries panel and recommendations made. Questions will be formulated and put out for public vote at the spring hearings in 2012 on the DNR portion of the questionnaire.
Bottom line is that if something is working we’ll keep it in place and if something isn’t, we’ll change it until we get it right. This is how the system should work and at times does work very well. Our No. 1 priority is maintaining the integrity of the resource with public input into the process whenever appropriate.
Over the years, our committee has moved its meetings around to optimize the opportunity to see the various types of streams and trout habitat that make up our great state. Wisconsin has a large diversity of stream types and that is the basis for our trout fishing category system because long ago we realized that one size does not fit all.
The morning following our committee meetings we usually are treated to an exceptional demonstration and tour of area stream improvement projects. This year was no exception.
Local Fisheries Biologist Dave Seibel and Friend of the Prairie River member Joe Krznarich guided the group over several stops along the 33 miles of trout infested water that makes up the Prairie River. The Prairie is about the size of the Apple River with tannin stained clear water that is the home to large brookies and browns.
Some stretches of the Prairie River have more than 7,000 trout per mile. That is more than one trout for every foot of river.
The Prairie has all natural reproduction with no stocking performed. Many of our group brought their fishing rods along and after the tour took advantage of some fine fishing opportunities. We plan our meeting each year right before the inland trout season closes for that reason.
A few years back we held our meeting in Hudson and one of our members fished the Rush River in Pierce County after the tour, bagging an 8 pound brown. That was one excited committee member. Fishing around the state is another advantage for becoming a trout committee member.
Besides showing the group what good management and habitat practices can produce, it was also very evident what can be accomplished with partnerships between the DNR, local organizations and private landowners. All the impressive work on this river was the result of just that kind of collaboration. Many hands make for some very productive results!
Warden Paul’s Corner
Fall wild turkey and ruffed grouse seasons
The 2010 fall wild turkey and ruffed grouse seasons are set to open at the start of shooting hours on Sept. 18. Overall, Wisconsin’s statewide wild turkey population remains strong and wildlife officials have maintained the number of fall turkey permits at 95,700, the same number that was offered during last year’s fall turkey season.
Despite a slight drop in statewide population levels, Wisconsin ruffed grouse hunters should also experience a rewarding season.
Hunters may now use dogs statewide to hunt wild turkey for the fall 2010 season; use is no longer restricted to the nine-county area in place during the 2009 hunt. This will be the second year that an extended fall season, running Nov. 29 through Dec. 31, will be in place. This extended season will take place in Turkey Management Zones 1-5 only.
Hunters are reminded of the requirement for blaze orange on ground blinds (page 9 in Fall 2010 Small Game Regulations) on DNR lands during any gun deer season. Ground blinds on DNR lands left unattended must also have the owner’s name and address or DNR customer identification number attached near the door opening. Ground blinds may not be left out overnight. Please note that these ground blind rules do not apply to ground blinds being used for hunting waterfowl or to blinds built only out of natural vegetation found on the DNR property.
Grouse and turkey hunters should also note that during any gun or muzzleloader deer season, including the Oct. 9-10 Youth Deer Hunt, antlerless hunts and CWD hunts (see 2010 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations), blaze orange clothing is required. A hat, if worn, must be at least 50 percent blaze orange.
• 2010 Fall Wild Turkey Season Dates: Sept. 18 through Nov. 18;
• 2010 Fall Wild Turkey Extended Season Dates for Zones 1-5 only: Nov. 29 through Dec. 31;
• 2010 Ruffed Grouse Season Dates: Zone A: Sept. 18 through Jan. 31, 2011; Zone B: Oct. 16 through Dec. 8.
Regular season Canada goose Exterior Zone hunting opens Saturday, Sept.18, which also marks the start of the two-day youth waterfowl hunt.
In the Northern Zone the hunt runs from Sept. 18-24 and Sept. 25 at 9 a.m. - Dec. 11.
In the Southern Zone Sept. 18-Oct.1 and Oct. 2 at 9 a.m. - Oct. 10 and Oct. 16 - Dec. 16.
In the Mississippi River Subzone Oct. 2 at 9 a.m. - Oct. 10 and Oct. 16 - Dec. 30.
Hunters should note that the season is closed in the South and Mississippi subzone from Oct. 11-15 during the duck season split. This is year four of a five-year trial period in which the exterior Canada goose zone will have a stable season length of 85 days and a two bird daily bag limit.
For any questions call Warden Paul Sickman at 715-684-2914, ext. 120.